Alexandria, Va. - March 9, 2011
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) are urging Congress to permit the Federal Reserve Board to expedite the implementation of an amendment to the Financial Reform legislation from Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) that would limit the fees charged to retail merchants on debit card transactions (known as "swipe fees") to a level that is "reasonable and proportionate" to the costs incurred by the banks and credit card associations to process these transactions.
"The amendment also allows retail merchants options on how their debit card transactions are routed for processing, which provides market competition for this part of the process," the letter stated.
Senator Durbin's amendment was included in the Financial Reform legislation enacted last year and directed the Federal Reserve to seek a level playing field between financial institutions and retailers—including pharmacies—on these debit card fees.
The law requires the Federal Reserve to write rules to enforce the "reasonable and proportional to cost" requirement by July 2011, although the precise date for enforcing the routing rule is left to their discretion. At this point, the Federal Reserve has issued draft regulations on what is to be considered reasonable and proportionate, and they have closed the comment period on the rules.
"We believe it is imperative that this process of writing and issuing final regulations continue as required by the law. Debit and credit card interchange fees currently total close to $50 billion annually for retailers. The timely promulgation and enforcement of the regulations will assure the beginnings of reform for both debit and credit cards to assure that fees are ‘reasonable and proportionate' for retailers and the customers they serve in a highly competitive marketplace," the letter stated.
To view a copy of the letter, please click here.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies—from regional chains with four stores to national companies. Chains operate 39,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.7 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill nearly 2.6 billion prescriptions annually, which is more than 72 percent of annual prescriptions in the United States. The total economic impact of all retail stores with pharmacies transcends their $830 billion in annual sales. Every $1 spent in these stores creates a ripple effect of $1.96 in other industries, for a total economic impact of $1.57 trillion, equal to 11 percent of GDP. NACDS represents 137 chains that operate these pharmacies in neighborhoods across America, and NACDS members also include more than 900 pharmacy and consumer packaged goods suppliers and service providers, and over 60 international members from 23 countries. For more information about NACDS, visit www.NACDS.org.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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